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cymbals

cymbals. Perc. instrs. consisting of plate-shaped discs made of brass or other metal with leather handles. Played by being held one in each hand and clashed together; or fixed on a stand enabling the foot to do the clashing; or one can be fixed to the side of a big drum and the other clashed on to it; or they can be rattled at their edges; or one cymbal can be struck with a drumstick (or wire brush) or a roll perf. on it with drumsticks. Antique cymbals, specified in some scores (e.g. Debussy's L'Après-midi d'un faune), are tuned to a definite pitch. Ordinary cymbals have no definite pitch but one may sound higher than another. See choke cymbals, Chinese crash cymbals, and sizzle cymbals.

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cymbals

cymbals (sĬm´bəlz), percussion instruments of ancient Asian origin. They consist of a pair of slightly concave metal plates which produce a vibrant sound of indeterminate pitch. Known in Europe since the Middle Ages, they were introduced into the European orchestra by Nikolaus Adam Strungk in 1680, but were generally used for exotic effects until the 19th cent. In the orchestra, cymbals have leather handles and are clashed by sweeping them past each other sideways or played by means of a foot pedal. A single cymbal may be struck by wooden or felt drumsticks. Small antique cymbals, used in orchestral scores by Debussy, yield a more definite pitch.

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